Report: Obama splits with Pentagon over Afghan troop withdrawal

The accelerated drawdown will dismay American and British commanders in Kabul, who have privately expressed concern that the White House is now being driven by political rather than military imperatives.

“This is not something we feel entirely comfortable with,” a Whitehall official told the Guardian…

Nato commanders led by General David Petraeus have set out the risks of withdrawing too many troops too soon, and warned Obama there has been no noticeable dividend from the death of the al-Qaida leader. They had urged him to keep in place the bulk of the extra 30,000 troops he committed to the “surge” until the end of 2012, so a drawdown can begin in 2013. That would give the military another full “fighting season” to attack Taliban strongholds and target insurgent leaders.

“They say they need another full year of this,” one official told the Guardian. “They want as much as possible for as long as possible.”